Glimpses of the Past - What The 1881 British Census Tells Us
Small frozen moments of time can be dusted off and picked out of the sawdust of the ice house of history. These are seldom blocks of information but tantalizing chips that the different census gives us.

More questions than answers arise as the chips melt away from our knowing. Nowhere is there an iceman to deliver the blocks. I shall try here to illustrate the news fragments of the spring day when all the census records were collected.

It looks on the surface as if a father or a couple of brothers perhaps, settled around Reading and Basingstoke, having come some miles from the west and began using the Eckett spelling of the name. On the east side of Basingstoke someone translated Eacott or Eycott or even Eckett into Eccott and the spelling took. Someone, perhaps from Maisey Hampton in Gloucestershire relocated to Yalding and the name Acott took hold. Just who moved and when is a question likely never to be answered.

A little more clear is the arrival of Jacob Eacott in the coal mining valley by Blaina, Monmouthshire from Wiltshire. A bricklayer by trade he likely found the prospering of the coal industry in Wales a good work opportunity. He married, settled down, and raised a large family of boys who went off to work in the coal mines that fed the engine of industrial expansion in Britain. Some of his cousins back in Wiltshire went to work in the railway factories working steel and boiler plate. Others worked in the railway systems, some as clerks, porters etc.

The biggest employment for the various families was in agricultural jobs. Of the 37 know Eccott occupations in 1901 Thirteen were doing such things as picking watercress, gardening, keeping game, or other farm jobs. Among the rest a railway plate layer, a carpenter, several general laborers and a couple of men who were Navvy (laborers) on the railroad, a ganger platelayer in the gas works, a railway porter. The ladies were servants or cooks, laundry workers or dress makers.
Of the some 117 male Acotts examined, more than 30 were essentially farm labor although some said they were farm carters, or horseman. A dozen were bricklayers or helpers, one a stone mason and another a sculptor of stone marble. In the transportation trade there was a brewers drayman, a railway engineers assistant, railway clerks (2) a porter, a milk carrier, tram driver, Builders carter. The wealthy estate owners employed footman, coachmen, Groom, head kennelman for fox hounds, and gardeners.
John Acott of Oxford was a comic opera actor. Horatio an assurance superintendant. Horace a drayman, Herbert an Irvam Trade, Peter a police officer, Richard an Innkeeper, Walter a Royal Engineer Sapper, while another Walter was a coin clerk. One William a leather dresser and another a Mangle man. There were shop keepers, merchants, butcher, baker, fruiterer and several apprentices including printer and brass foundry and George was a Pianoforte Remover.
Among the approximately 100 Eckett occupations half a dozen were domestic servants, and only 8 were agricultural workers or farmers. Because a number lived in London urban occupations prevail. 8 were in construction as cabinet maker, painter, carpenter or bricklayer. There were half a dozen dressmakers or laundresses. Some were birdcage, basket or packing case makers. Another 8 worked in some capacity for the railroads. There was an Innkeeper, electrical instrument maker, undertaker, clergyman (2), police constable, beer seller, school mistress, piano teacher, tea buyer, Printing machine manager, waiter, journalist, fishmonger(2), civil engineer and an artillery gunner. On whole the education level among this name was higher than average. 
The Ecott trades included carpenter, bricklayer , butcher, dressmaker, tailor, machinist and a few agricultural workers. An engine stoker, a soldier, and a bank clerk.

The Eakets, all of Gloucestershire, had 3 stone masons, a painter, and laboring jobs.

Aycotts worked as boiler stoker, boiler maker, cheesemonger assistant, newspaper reporter, wood carver, laundry, boot maker.

Eycott careers included 3 house painters, teacher, coffee house keeper, naval chief officer, matron, and one cricket at Chopper Willow.

The Eacrets were mill workers.
Finally the Eacotts, 3 dozen were domestic workers, cooks, servants etc. Another 3 dozen were agricultural workers mostly not specific, some as gardeners, herdsman etc. 7 were farmers on their own land. 8 worked in the coal mining industry, another 8 worked on the railroad. 6 were in the grocery trade, and six were bricklayers. One was brick maker. 5 were clergy or similar, 6 were seamstress or dresmakers. 3 teachers, 3 cabinet or chair maker, 2 bank clerks, 2 train drivers. More than a dozen industrial laborers. A few shop keepers and a professionals bailiff, a candy shop owner, bristle merchant, china sales agent, boiler smith and a number of people with odd sounding jobs, cigar box cutter, compositor, chimney sweep, town crier, iron monger, telephone wire man, tent maker, paper folder, corset machinist, brass trimmer, wheel chairman. A soldier, 2 seamen and a nurse. Apart from the seven Eacott owned farms there were few landed families.
What was happening in family life?
 During the last years of the 1800's the population of Britain had increased greatly. In 1500 there were about 2 million, by 1600 4 million and by 1800 there were around 8 million. At the turn of the century millions had migrated and yet there were about 50 million in Britain. Large families abounded. Most children went to school but by the age of 14 most boys held jobs and many girls of 16 were domestics and factory laborers.

Some modern jobs were evident by 1880 telegraph messenger, electrician, shorthand writer, news reporter. There were a goodly number of middle aged unmarried women mostly working as domestics. Some women aided by daughters were taking in laundry. Families owing or renting were adding to the family income by taking in renters. A great many households had one or two unrelated people living with the family. They must have been busy places because they would be sharing meals and living space with several children. Some of the farms were being managed by widows aided by their sons. A very few people were pensioners or listed as living on their own means. Some people were unemployed including a school master who had recently returned to England after having lived in Germany and Switzerland where some of his children had been born. At least one of his children eventually lived in Argentina.
Fitting together puzzles showed that one boy of 5 placed in an orphanage eventually was educated and became a dentist. Another person, a recently widowed grandfather, was present for the birth of his daughters child during the time of the census. Some people lived and worked on great estates employed by high ranking people such as a senior magistrate.
There seems to be a lot of bricklayers among the various families. Some carpenters but more bricklayers. Was this something of a family trade or just a reflection on the building industry needing more bricklayers than carpenters. While there are a few in the military the numbers are very small. Likewise, the number of well educated persons is also quite small. There are no lawyers, doctors, almost no persons of rank or senior management, Although there are several theological people, a few bank clerks and teachers. Most people would be considered employees rather than employers. Those who were employers were very small business people.
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1901  British  Census  Name Access
The most recent available census in detail  from England is that of 1901.  You may link to  the following names for name, age, location and occupation.  They have been sorted into locality groupings.    Click on the name for complete detailed list      Acott      Eacott       Eccott        Eccott 1881         Ecott
The Eckett, Eycott  and other names have not been sorted at this time. If anyone wishes to do so and send me the lists I will add them.